The programme of 20th Animateka is out!


Browse our website and find films for you or your little ones!

Information about the accompanying programme and AnimatekaPRO will follow soon!

Tickets on sale from 22 November.

Below you can read what our programme director, Igor Prassel, wrote on the occasion of Animateka 20th birthday.

20th Animateka: A celebration of animated creativity

In 2023, Animateka celebrates its venerable 20th anniversary. Looking back, I realise this has not been an easy journey, and there have been times when the festival was just about to go under. It was thanks to the inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm of the festival team and the support from both coproducers (Kinodvor and the Slovenian Cinematheque) in terms of infrastructure and human resources that the festival has managed to weather all the storms and tow the ship to a safe haven year after year. So, in 2023, we can continue the tradition of giving you the best of what auteur animation from around the globe has to offer.

This anniversary edition is dedicated to the memory of Paul Bush, our dear friend and colleague whose untimely departure left us shocked earlier this year. A member of our jury in 2016, Paul showed his VR film I Horizon at the 2022 Animateka. His works remain as a reminder of the creative spirit and genius of the old sailor.

Each year, the festival welcomes an unparalleled number of filmmakers, most notably the jury members of its current festival edition. The artist behind the 2023 visual identity is the legendary Italian animator and painter Gianluigi Toccafondo, whose Little Russia was the Grand Prix winner at the first edition of Animateka. Along with a retrospective of his animations, we celebrate his work with exhibitions in the DLUL Gallery, the Slovenian Cinematheque, and the Kinodvor Gallery, where you can see original drawings for the motley 2023 festival trailer. The festival jury, we are proud to say, includes four superstars of world auteur animation. From Portugal, the animation poet Alexandra Ramires, member of BAP Collective whose films you can see in a retrospective programme and whose masterclass you can attend as part of AnimatekaPRO. From Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city, Naomi van Niekerk, who is often compared to the great William Kentridge for her charcoal animation technique and social topics. If you ask me, she is Kentridge’s contemporary successor. Nikki Schuster is an Austrian-born Berlin-based artist whose beginnings were in experimental cinema. In recent years, however, she has developed a unique “sustainable animation” style, visiting urban environments worldwide and recycling found objects to make animated travelogues. Apart from showing her films, Schuster will run the Elephant recycling animation workshop in the week leading up to the festival. One other jury member to join us before the festival is Dahee Jeong, who will run a workshop for students in Nova Gorica. Another unique poet of auteur animation, Dahee honed her skills studying in France. Her meditative works have been awarded at the world’s leading animation festivals, with her film Movements shown in the Directors’ Fortnight section in Cannes.

Since Animateka’s Main Competition features works from Central and Eastern Europe, the Best of the World strand brings the most innovative, daring, and heavily awarded animated jewels by filmmakers from Western Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Traditionally, we also show a selection of animated documentaries. The grand retrospective, one of the festival staples, focuses on collage animation, featuring pioneers such as Stan VanDerBeek, Larry Jordan, Jan Lenica and Terry Gilliam, the modern masters Lewis Klahr (a festival guest), Stacey Steers, Dalibor Barić and many others. Two programmes for adults, titled Creepy Animation Night, were curated in collaboration with our partners, the Anim’est festival from Bucharest. The Anim’est director, Mihai Mitrica, is the fifth member of the jury.

Each year, Animateka also shows an exclusive selection of animated feature films. This year, this includes Slovenian premieres of seven feature-length auteur animations. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, a feature debut from the composer, painter and filmmaker Pierre Földes, is an exquisite adaptation of short stories by the celebrated Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. From the Hungarian duo Tibor Bánóczki and Sarolta Szabó, another debut is White Plastic Sky, an epic dystopian sci-fi work made with the rotoscope technique. A deeply moving eco-fantasy that deals head-on with the climate apocalypse threatening life on Earth, White Plastic Sky is a film imbued with the melancholy of those most aware of how close humankind is to extinction. After visiting the film festival in the North Korean capital in 2018, the German filmmaker Martin Hans Schmitt turned his experience into a 3D stereoscopic animated documentary that is How I Survived the Pyongyang Film Festival. In Art College 1994, the Chinese filmmaker Liu Jian takes us to the campus of the Hangzhou art school to follow the lives of young artists torn between tradition and modernity. The winner of the top prize at Annecy 2023, Chicken for Linda!, is a feature for all generations. Its directors Chiara Malta and Sébastien Laudenbach unleash a unique visual marvel of hand-painted animation with bright, colour-blocked characters, and a story that is an intoxicating blend of slapstick comedy, musical, and family drama. Last but not least, two wonderful works for the youngest audience. The Czech filmmaker Filip Pošivač joins us to showcase his debut, Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light, a puppet animation adventure about being different, about friendship and imagination, light and darkness. Finally, we are extra proud to show – and announce the 2024 Slovenian distribution of Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds, a family adventure by the French auteur Benoît Chieux that takes you on a journey to discover new worlds. This surreal and mesmerising quest that revels in touring through an intricately animated realm will receive a Slovenian-dubbed theatrical release in 2024.

The extensive film programme is complemented by masterclasses and Q&As as part of AnimatekaPRO, taking place in morning sessions in the Silvan Furlan Hall of the Slovenian Cinematheque. Meanwhile, a new competition programme of XR films is on view in the new exhibition space of the Slovenian Cinematheque, featuring six international projects, including the first VR film by the legendary Japanese animator Koji Yamamura, in the running for a jury award, plus some extra works in two “waiting rooms” to take you into the world of immersive art.

Igor Prassel